History

History

Recognizing the dire need for an Orthodox Church a representative group from the Christian Arab community gathered at a banquet at the Palace Hotel on Dec. 5, 1937. His Eminence Most Reverend Antony Bashir was guest of honor. It was from this very enthusiastic gathering that the first plans for a church emerged. On Aug. 19, 1938, that a building on southeast corner of Gough and Green (see photo above) was purchased and soon remodeled to meet Orthodox requirements. The first Board of Directors was elected at a general meeting on Aug. 23, 1938.

The next step after securing the church was to request a priest from his Eminence Metropolitan Bashir and the newly ordained Father Brahim Corey was so designated as the first Pastor of St. Nicholas Church. The first known Liturgy was celebrated on Aug. 26, 1939. Fr. Brahim served entire community faithfully until his retirement in 1943. With the retirement of our first Pastor, Fr. Brahim Corey, Fr. Michael Khallouf, became the Pastor. Fr. Khallouf faithfully served until Sept. 30, 1952. He later became a Bishop.

In June 1952, the Archbishop sent a letter offering a new priest, Elias Karim. He was readily accepted and arrived in San Francisco on Oct. 1, 1952. Fr. Karim was 23 years of age and was the first officially accepted Divinity student in the Archdiocese Priest Education Plan. Fr. Karim was instrumental in organizing various groups from 1953 -1957. To begin with, he needed to communicate with the entire community, and what better way than with a bulletin in the mail.

In 1959, Board of Trustees brought about an awareness of the great need to prepare for the future and building expansion. In Jan. 1960, a building committee, a Visitation Program, a Finance Committee and a Social Committee were formed and they began to work on ways and means of attaining the final necessary funds for a new church. A short time later, the Re-development Agency of San Francisco announced its intention to subdivide the Diamond Heights Area for sale to the public. The Agency informed the Board that St. Nicholas qualified with six other churches to purchase the lot. The Agency left the decision up to the churches involved to pick a winner out of a hat. In a most dramatic moment, St. Nicholas drew the first winning number. Then Church plans were submitted for the new lot.